SEATTLE -- It’s not a secret that the Rangers struggle on the road. With a 14-43 record away from Globe Life Field this season, it’s been a notable blemish from a young team.
On Tuesday night, that wasn’t on anybody’s mind as the Rangers battled back to a 5-4 win over the Mariners in 10 innings at T-Mobile Park, snapping the club’s road losing streak at 14 games, two short of the franchise record.
“I was just happy that, as a team, we stood together,” Kiner-Falefa said. “A lot hasn't been going our way, especially on the road, so it was nice to get that first win. Things have been tough, so anytime you get a win, especially on the road, it's a good feeling. I'm just happy that we stood together and we got the job done.”
Kiner-Falefa said he was able to hit to the opposite field with the shift playing more up the middle. With Jason Martin on second as the automatic runner to start the 10th, he was able to score easily to take the lead.
Hernandez’s subsequent RBI single to extend the Rangers’ lead proved to be the difference as Seattle scored one run in the bottom half of the frame.
“It's going to be difficult but we're going to keep fighting, and we did that tonight,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It wasn't easy. There were a lot of tough spots. Obviously with two outs in the 10th inning, we thought we weren't gonna score there. Then our heart and soul comes through [Kiner-Falefa], and Yonny the new guy comes up with a big hit right there, that was the game-winner. I like the energy. I like the fight that we had all day.”
In a hitters’ meeting before the game, Woodward told his team that things weren’t always going to go their way and they had to fight through the adversity when it comes. He wasn’t wrong about the back-and-forth affair that Texas and Seattle put on and how the Rangers battled back each time.
Adolis García launched a tiebreaking shot 402 feet into the Texas bullpen to lead off the top of the ninth inning, but recently appointed Rangers closer Spencer Patton struggled in the save situation. He blew his third save of the season by walking the first two batters of the frame before issuing a bases-loaded walk to score the tying run two batters later.
Patton then got two bases-loaded strikeouts, which Woodward called the grittiest performance of the night.
“It was just one of those days,” Woodward said of Patton’s uncharacteristically wild outing. “But, listen, he didn't give up. He didn't quit and honestly gave our team a chance to win a game even without his best stuff. And we ended up winning.”
Woodward turned to Brett Martin, who got a flyout to send the game to extra innings.
Texas starter Kolby Allard threw three hitless innings before surrendering back-to-back homers to Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager to lead off the bottom of the fourth. He labored through his final three frames without giving up another run and handed over a 2-2 game to the bullpen.
A 414-foot solo homer from Jason Martin gave the Rangers a lead in the second inning. Though he had just one hit, the outfielder had a quality day at the plate. After sending that home run into the right-field seats on the first pitch of his first plate appearance, Martin battled for an 11-pitch at-bat in the fifth, though it ended in a lineout. He added a 104.2 mph groundout in the seventh inning.
“He got really unlucky today,” Woodward said. “When he's good, that's what he does. He's obviously got power. He can hit the ball over the field. I just really hope that he gets confident and comfortable to where he can show us what he can do because he's a talented player.”
Catcher Jonah Heim continued his reign over the Mariners when he scored the tying run in the fifth inning on a DJ Peters RBI single, though he was dead to rights if Mariners catcher Tom Murphy hadn’t dropped the ball when making the tag.
Kiner-Falefa called the decision to send him a “leap of faith,” and Woodward also acknowledged it was a fairly aggressive move by third-base coach Tony Beasley.
“[Beasley] gave a little shout out upstairs on that one,” Woodward said. “I was a third-base coach, I'm never gonna fault him for being aggressive. Right there on DJ’s double, it ended up working out. Maybe if the guy hangs on to the ball, he's probably out. But I'm never gonna fault him for being aggressive. I've told him I want him to be aggressive.
“It's something I'm trying to unleash in these guys. To unlock these guys in the batter's box or on the bases. Like, obviously, be smart, intelligent baseball players, but I want to see what these guys can do.”